Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Time to Do Something About Out of Wedlock Births

The 50th anniversary of Dr.King’s “I Have A Dream” speech has led to a general reassessment of progress being made within the black community, and one particular area of interest has been the status of the black family, especially the issue of black matriarchy. When Daniel Patrick Moynihan presented his controversial report on the black family, 24% of black families were single parent, female headed families. By 1990 the percent reach 64, and today it is 72%. That’s right, 7 out of 10 black families are single parent families! The purpose of this post is not to critique the causes being advanced to explain this rise, for there are no doubt a multitude of valid explanations. My concern is with the consequences of so many single parent homes in what are invariably concentrated geographic areas, and with the attitude of liberal women, white and black, almost all of whom seem to think that this rise is harmless and in fact an affirmation of women as equals, that somehow this reality demonstrates the fact that women “don’t need a man” to raise a family.

I recently observed a “conversation” on CNBC discussing this new reality, and was disappointed to see so many commentators seemingly comfortable with this horrible breakdown in traditional families and more interested in discussing how to help these “families” rather than thinking critically on how to reverse this trend.
I suspect that if we looked more closely at black women involved in this discussion of black matriarchy we would find that most were raised in traditional middle class homes and far removed from life in these urban neighborhoods. They seem disinterested in those arguing for changes in public policy designed to encourage parents to raise their children together. They seem unfazed by the fact that this liberalization leads to destabilization of both the community and the children growing up in it.

The most dangerous aspect of this black matriarchy is its cyclical nature; many of those variables often identified as causative of black matriarchy end up as the consequences: ridiculously high incarceration rates, inferior education, lack of jobs, and  increased dependence on government  to name a few.

Getting these self-righteous well off “thinkers” to open their eyes and accept the truism that traditional family structures are a critical component to rehabilitating impoverished communities is tantamount to accepting a conservative point of view, and unfortunately few of these “independent” women are willing to do that.  When it comes to other issues of public policy, all I hear are complaints- justified-  about the intransigence of those on the far right. On this issue, the “other side” might have the better argument.  On this issue, it would be nice if those on “the left” demonstrated how intransigence gets in the way of progress. It would be nice, but apparently fundamentalism is a switch hitter, dangerous from both sides of the plate. Batter up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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